by Gwendolyn Kim Hoff
LATOBSD begins 1 ½ years into the doctor’s incarceration at the time of his dear wife’s funeral. Maggie Lou Campbell did not do well with her husband hundreds of miles away. She had been watching their empire of wealth and real estate crumble around her, spurred on by numerous jealous conspirators who position themselves, like sharks around a school of hapless fish.
It is from that point backward, I transport the reader back in time, before Maggie Lou was conceived by her multi-racial mother with the help of one of Leon County’s most respected grocers and back when Alfrey (A.O.) Campbell’s family was beholding to a deep-rooted plantation owner; some called it slavery in the post emancipation south.
From this time forward, I undertake the task of fictionalizing a seemingly immeasurable share of people and events. Most of this recounting of the doctor’s affairs is true to history, used as a guidepost for the seventy-some year story line. There are many people amongst the ensemble that closely resemble many of those that truly did exist, back when the delineation between black and white was beginning to show signs of gray. Yet as close as the Campbell’s pushed that line towards equality, a stronger force bludgeoned them back where “they belonged”.
As tempting as it was to make this biographical, I could not. Case in point, the considerable liberty taken, especially as it applies to the more famous characters I have inserted in this moderately loosely-tied account of what really happened. If you think historical fiction is tough staying true to historical events, multiply that by two and you have a biography; there will always be someone who says: ‘That isn’t the way it happened.’
So as we traipse our way into the wonderful world of fiction, consider this list of names and events (In order of their appearance):
Whoowah Nellie. What does any of this have to do with a black Southern doctor you ask? That is what makes history fun, even if much of this stuff did not come down quite the way I write it. I promise to dedicate the 20th chapter to the process of sorting the beef from the bull; the inconsistencies you all will gladly point out while reading along as the decades peel away.
The bottom line is that LATOBSD is not just about the doctor.